Exploring the Perception and Actualization of Digital Twin Affordances in a Norwegian Grid Company Through a Heideggarian Lens


Affordance Theory has become a core concept in information systems literature. However, existing understandings fall short in providing details on the facilitating conditions for affordances to be perceived and actualized. We address this issue by enriching the theory by integrating three concepts from Heidegger: familiarity, totality, and significance. We posit that an actor’s familiarity with the totality of the artifact is a necessary condition for affordance perception, while significance is necessary for affordance actualization. To empirically illustrate our theoretical arguments, we conducted a longitudinal case study of a Digital Twin project in a Norwegian grid company. We found that without familiarity with the totality of the Digital Twin, affordances remained latent for users, and that lack of significance hindered users from actualizing perceived affordances. Our study contributes to both expanding the actor-artefact relation in Affordance Theory, as well as providing valuable insights into how Digital Twins are understood and applied in practice.